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The Eisenhower Matrix

Updated: May 26, 2022

Oftentimes we start the day or the week by creating a to-do list, but what if the list has more on it than you can get done? Or if you have that one task that you write down every day, but never seems to get done? Try out this activity after you've brain dumped all your tasks into one list to prioritize and create a plan.

This straightforward method takes just a few minutes and helps your work day be more impactful and productive. Outlined by Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it was based on the ideas of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and requires only paper and something to write with.

First, draw two intersecting lines on your paper, and label the columns "Urgent" and "Not Urgent". Then label the rows "Important" and "Not Important".

Then, just start at the top of your to do list and rewrite each task in the appropriate box. Urgent tasks have a deadline coming up or are over due, while others either have no deadline or have one that is a ways away. Important tasks are ones that are both necessary and need to be done by you, specifically. Those that are not important can be done by anyone in the organization or group.